Natural Treatments for Chronic Sinus Infections & Sinusitis
Natural Treatments for Chronic Sinus Infections
My search for natural treatments for chronic sinusitis began during my second pregnancy, when I developed my first ever sinus infection. Because I was pregnant, I was reluctant to take medication so I delayed going to the doctor. It got so bad that one day while driving to work, I pulled the car over to the side of the road and started crying. I was exhausted, had an excruciating headache, and felt pain along my left check and jaw. So I went to the doctor, took an antibiotic, got some rest, and recovered. But after that, I was never the same. The infection came back. Each time it was treated, it would subside for a time and then come back again until it seemed that I had a constant sinus infection. After seeing many doctors and getting no relief, I finally figured out how to get rid of the sinusitis without resorting to surgery, steroids, or antibiotics. The book, "Sinus Survival" was my bible. I would highly recommend it. Today, I'm mostly free of sinus problems but if I do feel an infection coming on, I know how to stop it before it starts. Read on for some tips that may just help you or your loved ones.
How Allergies Contribute to Sinus Infections
Allergies are a major contributor to sinus infections and to chronic sinusitis. According to Dr. Robert Ivkar, the author of "Sinus Survival," half of people with sinus problems have allergies. Therefore, one important way to find natural treatments for chronic sinusitis is to treat these allergies. To treat allergies, you can change your environment and/or treat the symptoms. Using an air purifier is one way to change your environment. Another way is to use pillowcase and mattress covers designed to minimize exposure to allergens from pillows and mattresses. To treat the symptoms, some people have success with allergy shots but it takes years to see results. For immediate relief, using an over-the-counter allergy medication is effective. There are several brands that don't cause drowsiness such as Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec. Try one at a time to see with works best for you.
Sinusitis and Immune System Strength
Another natural treatment for chronic sinus infections is to bolster your immune system through gut health. If you've had sinus problems for awhile then you've probably taken many courses of antibiotics over the years. I know I did. Unfortunately, most doctors don't tell you that taking antibiotics will kill off the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract, allowing organisms like Candida or harmful bacteria to overgrow. So unless you eat a lot of yogurt or take probiotics with the antibiotics, you probably have some level of intestinal dysbiosis. This gut imbalance can weaken your immune system. In fact, it's said that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. In order to get better it may be necessary to change your diet to promote a more healthy digestive tract. Eating whole foods while minimizing refined sugar and processed foods can do wonders for your gut health as well as for your overall immune system health. Taking probiotics or eating yogurt is also very helpful.
Dairy foods are also known to increase mucus and trigger sinus infections. Try eliminating them to see if it helps. I needed to eliminate all dairy products at first. Now, I can eat cheese and drink whey protein shakes without issue. I still avoid milk, ice cream, and yogurt.
Chronic Sinusitis and Stress
Stress and lack of sleep are another contributing factor to chronic sinus infections. Therefore, a relatively easy natural treatment for chronic sinusitis is to get more sleep and manage stress.
I can't say enough how important it is to get enough sleep if you suffer from chronic sinusitis or if you have an acute infection. This is not the time to burn the candle at both ends. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night, more if you have an infection.
Stress suppresses the immune system and can lead to colds and sinus infections. An important part of healing yourself is learning to relax more. You should try to take one day at a time and not worry about things you can't control. Take time to do something fun for yourself every day, even if it's just reading a book or going for a walk. Learning to mediate is also extremely helpful.
Treating Sinusitis with Moisture
One of the best natural treatments for chronic sinus infections is moisture. Rinsing my sinuses was probably the most helpful remedy for me and is still the solution I go to first when I feel an infection coming on. During the height of my sinusitis, I saw a doctor at the Mayo clinic. He suggested that I use a nasal bulb syringe to irrigate my sinuses with saline. I simply fill a large glass measuring cup with two cups of distilled water, heat it in the microwave for one minute, add one teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt, and stir. Then I fill the bulb syringe with the liquid and release it into one nostril at a time. I also sometimes add a few drops of 5% Lugol's Iodine, a natural antibiotic, to the mixture. I've had extremely good luck with this remedy.
A neti pot is very similar and can also be used. I've never actually used the neti pot since I have the bulb syringe but I've heard great things about them from many people.
Another way to increase moisture is to use a humidifier in your home, especially during the dry winter months. And finally, carrying a portable bottle of saline nasal spray is a great way to head off a sinus infection while away from home.
Use an air purifier and OTC allergy medication
Sleep and Relaxation
Sleep 7-9 hours per nights and relax daily
Whole foods; avoid sugar and processed food
Increase moisture with a humidifier and nasal irrigation
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